The Art of Agile Development

The Art of Agile Development

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by James Shore, Chromatic

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The Art of Agile Development contains practical guidance for anyone considering or applying agile development for building valuable software. Plenty of books describe what agile development is or why it helps software projects succeed, but very few combine information for developers, managers, testers, and customers into a single package that they can apply

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The Art of Agile Development contains practical guidance for anyone considering or applying agile development for building valuable software. Plenty of books describe what agile development is or why it helps software projects succeed, but very few combine information for developers, managers, testers, and customers into a single package that they can apply directly.

This book provides no-nonsense advice on agile planning, development, delivery, and management taken from the authors' many years of experience with Extreme Programming (XP). You get a gestalt view of the agile development process, including comprehensive guidance for non-technical readers and hands-on technical practices for developers and testers.

The Art of Agile Development gives you clear answers to questions such as:

  • How can we adopt agile development?
  • Do we really need to pair program?
  • What metrics should we report?
  • What if I can't get my customer to participate?
  • How much documentation should we write?
  • When do we design and architect?
  • As a non-developer, how should I work with my agile team?
  • Where is my product roadmap?
  • How does QA fit in?
The book teaches you how to adopt XP practices, describes each practice in detail, then discusses principles that will allow you to modify XP and create your own agile method. In particular, this book tackles the difficult aspects of agile development: the need for cooperation and trust among team members.

Whether you're currently part of an agile team, working with an agile team, or interested in agile development, this book provides the practical tips you need to start practicing agile development. As your experience grows, the book will grow with you, providing exercises and information that will teach you first to understand the rules of agile development, break them, and ultimately abandon rules altogether as you master the art of agile development.

"Jim Shore and Shane Warden expertly explain the practices and benefits of Extreme Programming. They offer advice from their real-world experiences in leading teams. They answer questions about the practices and show contraindications - ways that a practice may be mis-applied. They offer alternatives you can try if there are impediments to applying a practice, such as the lack of an on-site customer.

—Ken Pugh, Author of Jolt Award Winner, Prefactoring

"I will leave a copy of this book with every team I visit."

—Brian Marick, Exampler Consulting

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Product Details

O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.94(w) x 9.27(h) x 0.98(d)

Meet the Author

James Shore has been leading teams in Agile development since 1999. A team member on that first project introduced him Ward Cunningham's wiki, where they were talking about a crazy idea called Extreme Programming. Despite the ridiculous name, James tried Extreme Programming on his next project and discovered that it worked far better than it sounded. James has been speaking, teaching, and writing about Agile methods ever since. Today, he continues to lead Agile teams using the best ideas from Scrum, Extreme Programming, and Lean.

James has contributed a large number of projects and ideas to the Agile community. He authored the first test-driven development framework for .NET web programming and coordinated the development of Ward Cunningham's Fit, the first major acceptance-testing tool. In 2005, the Agile Alliance recognized James with their highest honor, the Gordon Pask Award for Contributions to Agile Practice. James is a featured speaker at conferences around the world. He may be found online at

Shane Warden manages Onyx Neon Press, an independent publisher. His areas of expertise include agile software development, language design, and virtual machines for dynamic languages. He is also a published novelist. His books include The Art of Agile Development and Masterminds of Programming.

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The Art of Agile Development 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago More than 1 year ago
The Art of Agile Development written by James Shore and Shane Warden is about managing a successful eXtreme Programming (XP) team. It reveals many possible ways of leading an agile team through a software project. The book is full of examples, explanations, tips and good practices. Great deal of issues covered in this book would make it hard to read but the authors made a tremendous work organizing the book's contents. There are cross-links between chapters and topics which help to find solutions to problems. Each topic has uniform structure consisting of subtopics, questions, results, contraindications, alternatives and further reading which helps a lot in finding answers and making decisions during an agile project. I was astonished how much information can be packed on only 400 pages. That is amazing. Parts I and II of this book contain author's approach to XP. Part I helps to get started with eXtreme Programming and Part II provides detailed guidance for each of XP's practices. Part III is full of ideas that can help to understand XP and agile development more deeply. I have read this book because I had heard that it is worth reading. I work as a software architect and project manager and I found this book very valuable. It is especially useful for anyone who is, will be or wants to be part of an agile team. This also includes programmers, domain experts, testers, project and product managers, designers and business analysts. It may also be handy for aware customers. If you have anything in common with agile development you should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very well-timed. Now that agile development practices are 'crossing the chasm' towards professionally accepted standards, this book reminds us that 'agile' is neither a narrow, prescriptive set of standardized practices, nor a free-for-all smorgasbord of every possible practice. This book will give teams and their management the information necessary to make informed decisions about the make-up of a software product team, and how it operates. The Art of Agile Development is intelligent, thoughtful, professional, and realistic. It is based on years of varied experiences, and it reveals a well-tested set of recommendations. Part I The book starts out with high-altitude answers to 'Why?' and 'How?' and a satisfying definition of 'success.' This is followed by a story of a hypothetical XP team. The story is full of dialog revealing the day-to-day functioning of a well-running team as a new hire joins the team. That dialog may seem contrived, but it's likely more of a composite of things heard on various teams. Yes, agile teams do enjoy their work, and people who enjoy their work talk about it as portrayed. I think this portrayal brings forth an important decision for the reader: Do you suspect that your development teams could truly run more smoothly, or are you merely looking for a way to dismiss this weird new 'agile movement' and get on with your agonizing career? 'Either way, keep reading!' Part II The second section of the book is a detailed exploration of the development practices recommended by the authors. There are a number of practices recognizable from XP, with some additional thoughtful practices, some realistic alterations, and some notable replacements. As I said, this is neither a full buffet, nor is it a restrictive diet. This is a menu prepared by two experienced chefs. They talk about contraindications and alternatives for each practice, but they also warn of the pitfalls of removing key ingredients. Each chapter, or practice, comes with embedded boxes highlighting important points, and 'allies,' which are the names of other related 'and supporting' practices and their page numbers. These allies appear in little grey boxes in the margins. They give you the ability to use the book as a reference, but they also paint an important picture of how the practices fit together. I have to give special credit to the authors for the chapter they call simply 'Trust.' Under 'alternatives' they state rather clearly that there are none. No replacement for trust! It seems so obvious, and yet teams struggle every day because they don't have it. The authors, thankfully, provide suggestions for establishing lasting trust. Another noteworthy chapter is 'No Bugs.' If you're standing in the bookstore trying to decide whether or not to buy the book, turn to this chapter. These practices bring numerous others into focus. Again, if you're thinking 'pipe dream,' keep reading. If you follow this menu conscientiously and rigorously, you will arrive at the sweet dessert of extremely high-quality code. Part III Have you ever had a delicious meal at a friend's house, obtained the recipe, tried it for yourself, and thought 'Oh, that didn't turn out well!' What can you do? It takes experience 'and that means real time in the kitchen' before you can comfortably tweak a chef's recipe. You can also go back to your experienced friend and ask for advice or clarification. This book provides the same opportunity. Read Parts I and II, go try it for a while, then come back to Part III. This section describes the underlying values and principles behind the agile practices, and will help your new process and your team's existing culture work together towards greater and greater success. If a lot of the chapter titles in this section sound like Lean product-development principles, well, I think that's intentional. It is perhaps difficult to pinpoint what is truly 'agile.' This book represents true agility